Tonight, like dozens of Friday nights before, a celebration of life will be held at Clinton High’s Dark Horse Stadium. It will be a celebration of all those brave men and women who have tackled a dangerous adversary and came out victorious. And it will be a memorial tribute to those who fought courageous battles across this great county and beyond against an enemy they couldn’t defeat.
As Sampson County’s Relay for Life gets under way for another year, the enemy will be the target of the support, love and faith that will be exhibited in the faces of every participant, in every song sung, every testimonial given, every mile walked and every dollar raised.
That enemy — cancer — will hear its name called time and again, and it will feel the power of thousands of people willing it cured once and for all, as they walk to their financial goal and their ultimate prayer — that their children and their grandchildren, and the generations who will come later, won’t have to fear the disease that has impacted so many lives right here in our own county year after year.
Hearing cancer survivors tell their stories of struggle, faith, hope and the renewal of life born out of the clutches of death, we will be able to once again feel the courage, respect the strength and applaud the fight.
The admiration we feel for every person who has fought cancer’s battle and won is immeasurable; the prayers for their continued recovery and remission heartfelt and said often.
Those feelings are only matched by the respect and love we feel for those families who have lost loved ones to the deadly disease. We know their battles, we understand the pain that seems unceasing and we share their loss, knowing that though they didn’t have the disease themselves, they have felt the fear, the pain and the struggle as clearly as their loved one.
And we know tonight those who will join together at the football stadium will be celebrating their loved ones’ brave battle even as they mourn the loss. We celebrate with them, and we mourn with them, too.
Tonight’s Relay will also be about emotions. You’ll laugh and cry, you might even pump your fist in the air in celebration and support, as a war cry, an alert to this disease that we are on the battlefield and we are determined, and one day we will win.
One day we will win this battle with cancer. If determination has anything to do with it, we will win! If faith has anything to do with it, we will win! If love has anything to do with, we will win! If support has anything to do with it, we will win!
We encourage Sampson residents to join in Friday’s Relay, showing support for the cause and the people working so hard to fight for it and to return a remarkable event to the tremendous community rally it was for so very long.
If you play some part in tonight’s Relay, watch the survivors take their walk and see the luminaries being lighted and feel the strength that will grow stronger as the night grows longer. Then it will become apparent that while the battle is an uphill one, and while the skirmishes can be difficult and unforgiving, the war is ours to win.
Faith is on our side, love is our guide and determination is our shield.
We will win this war with cancer. Let’s so how much we want to do just that tonight.